How Many More Times
September 14, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Everything is a Remix (Part 1) by New York-based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson.

Although the video briefly appears to end, it starts back up again around 5:36.
posted by gman (37 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Led Zeppelin were horrible music thieves. Got it.
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2010


Ooh, ooh, now do Zappa!
posted by The World Famous at 11:48 AM on September 14, 2010


I think at least a mention of "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" was warranted.
posted by davebush at 11:54 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I quite enjoyed the video also linked on his site, the "history of the world's most important six-second drum loop". It's a 17-minute-long analysis of the use of "the Amen break", a drum break that appeared on the B-side of a single by a band called the Winstons in 1969. He goes on to illustrate how the use, reuse, and misuse of the sample has informed and in turn informs modern copyright law. Depressing conclusions, but an intriguing look at how six seconds of drums became as ubiquitous as air. Fascinating.

OK, now I'll watch the main link.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:03 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not just entertainment. This applies to everything. What's different is a matter of degree and focus. It hasn't been until recently that the juxtaposition of borrowed or sampled elements has been part of the statement itself, as recognized form of ironic art. It adds a meta-layer to the presentation of the statement, and it is, I think, awesome.

It's not just that people are playing with the meaning of words, but they are drawing in the history of those words within a particular context. Intertextuality, dialogic, mashup, whatever you want to call it. But it does take a certain amount of skill, in the form of social aptitude. It's not enough to pull a quote from Fight Club and put it next to a quote from Pulp Fiction. It requires slicing through genre and time and space. It's the conversation that happens in the subtext of Mad Men, and its themes of privacy, identity and freedom. And then again in the commercial breaks that are both capitalizing on that to talk to both them and us. Sometimes so cleverly, others not so much.

It's a fine line too. It has to be accessible and obscure enough to be original. Creative and plain. Or not, for the sake of that statement. It can exist at any layer of awareness that the audience can and is ready to access. People will continue to create new ways of sending messages with the message as carrier. Just like words. And yet, within them, they are moving about and changing. Reappropriation of fashion elements, coded language in politics, riffs sampled and rearranged, memes, it's all in the mix. I love it.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:10 PM on September 14, 2010


Remixes are everything.

EvREMIXthing.
posted by DU at 12:13 PM on September 14, 2010


Wow, no mention of Baudrillard? And he pleads for money at the end. This doesn't need to be an art project, there are thousands of these videos on youtube. For example here is a great Daft Punk one:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJPdVVOmbz4 Who is his audience for this?
posted by thylacine at 12:13 PM on September 14, 2010


I'm personally a big fan of remixing when it's done well and I love the intent behind this video, however I come away a little unclear as to the point of the extended segment on Led Zeppelin.

Is the filmmaker trying to say that Led Zeppelin was ahead of their time and we should now reclassify them one of the original remixers? That seems to be the point being made. Not sure if I buy it though.
posted by jeremias at 12:13 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The official Bush of Ghosts site has some interesting stuff, but unfortunately the MLitBoG Remix site linked from that site have gotten hijacked by a malware providing site (according to the automated FireFox and Google warnings). In its place, I offer two other Gabriel tracks (and others). If you don't want to sign up, you can bug-me-not.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2010


Is the filmmaker trying to say that Led Zeppelin was ahead of their time and we should now reclassify them one of the original remixers?

I think he's trying to say that the idea of a "remix" is not new and demonstrating that by giving just one example that people might not always think of. He could have used lots of other examples, such as the Stones or Beatles or many, many earlier examples going back to the renaissance and earlier.
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on September 14, 2010


Humans are remixed monkeys.
posted by studentbaker at 12:17 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Humans are remixed monkeys.

Rare to see truth on the blue-ooh-ooh.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:22 PM on September 14, 2010


If you want a picture of the future of remix culture, imagine a decal of Calvin pissing on a Ford logo — forever.
posted by adipocere at 12:30 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Humans are everything.

Hey, I mashed up the comments!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:30 PM on September 14, 2010


Rare to see truth on the blue-ooh-ooh

Wanted a woman, never bargained for you.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:34 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


He used Led Zep because they were different: they didn't cite their sources (which would make their songs covers), and they didn't change (enough) to be original enough versions (at least, as I understood the video). The Beatles and The Stones cited their sources. In this way, Led Zep were marked as similar to hiphop producers in the video; remixes don't require an MPC or tape edits.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:38 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes the Beatles and Stones cited their sources.
posted by The World Famous at 12:53 PM on September 14, 2010


Sorry, I don't see the point of this project / film. Nothing new or revelatory here at all.
posted by dr. strangelove at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2010


I'd be more interested if he delved into the moral issues of this. Maybe that's in the future.

One thing about remix culture, like it or not, it's happening and there's no going back.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2010


If you want to see a pretty amazing (IMHO) remixing culture, check out OCReMix.

If you can get past the nerdy fact that it's dedicated to video game music, what you'll find is a community of people who are totally tuned in to the concept of the remix as a re-imagining, which is pretty neat. And they've been at it for over 10 years or something, well before the Rest Of The Internet got in on game.

And of course he's only talked about music so far. Fan fiction is a pretty vibrant art scene, and deviantART has been around for about ten years too, another shining example of internet remixing culture writ large.

And let's not forget Doujinshi.

But really, none of this is new at all, we've just got more New Media terminology for it. Shakespeare was clearly a master remixer, as were Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Mohammed.

It's what humans do. We shuffle ideas around. Right now, for example, I'm remixing the concept of "work."
posted by jnrussell at 1:20 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is the filmmaker trying to say that Led Zeppelin was ahead of their time and we should now reclassify them one of the original remixers?

I'm wondering if it's meant as a way to ease baby boomers into the topic. Show them remixing is not just about kids goofing off on YouTube.

I could be wrong though. It is disappointing he asks for money to complete a four part series without saying what the other three parts would be. Is he building up to some important message or project or call to action, or is it 20 minutes of more examples?
posted by Gary at 1:27 PM on September 14, 2010


Re: the focus on Zeppelin, filthy light thief got it right above. Also, Zeppelin is not just any example, they are one of the most successful rock band of all time, they are a penultimate example for making the point that "everything is a remix" (at least in popular music).
posted by stbalbach at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2010


Wow, no mention of Baudrillard?

Would he be the guy who remixed Guy Debord?
Who in turn remixed Hegel?
Well, let's face it, who in the 20th century didn't remix Hegel?
posted by Pastabagel at 1:36 PM on September 14, 2010


You know who else remixed Hegel?
posted by rusty at 2:07 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


they are a penultimate example

If Zeppelin is penultimate, who comes after them?
posted by The World Famous at 2:36 PM on September 14, 2010


Blues musicians have always copied each other's stuff. Led Zeppelin didn't even pioneer that.

They were originally called The New Yardbirds, fer crying out loud!
posted by Joe Beese at 2:57 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I quite enjoyed the video also linked on his site, the "history of the world's most important six-second drum loop". It's a 17-minute-long analysis of the use of "the Amen break", a drum break that appeared on the B-side of a single by a band called the Winstons in 1969. He goes on to illustrate how the use, reuse, and misuse of the sample has informed and in turn informs modern copyright law. Depressing conclusions, but an intriguing look at how six seconds of drums became as ubiquitous as air. Fascinating.

What's depressing about it? Drum and Bass is awesome.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on September 14, 2010


For example here is a great Daft Punk one

Heh. I've always wanted to know what that Barry Manilow song is, and now I do! Thanks.

There's a difference between sampling and remixing. Isn't there?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:08 PM on September 14, 2010


Humans are remixed monkeys.

Apes.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:09 PM on September 14, 2010


There's a difference between sampling and remixing. Isn't there?

Absolutely. A remix generally refers to the replacement or enhancement of a song's backing track. More often than not, this means removing something old and adding something new. It's more akin to redecorating than recycling.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:12 PM on September 14, 2010


Honestly, the difference between sampling and remixing is whether the remixer leaves the original artist and song title on the record when he releases it.

If your name is on the new song, and it has a new song title, you just 'sampled' the other song. If you leave the original title and artist and call it a remix, you 'remixed' it. I know people will say there are technical differences, but at this point, there really aren't. I don't know how you can objectively look at a 'sampled' Daft Punk record that's 90% the material from the other song, and compare it to a lot of remixes that barely sound like the original and say that one is remixed and one is sampled.

I had one friend who was working on a bootleg remix of a classic trance anthem for his own sets, and then was contracted by a record label to remix a completely different song. He took his other remix, changed the melody just slightly and sent it to the label as a remix of the new song, even though he literally used nothing from the song he was asked to remix, and it sounded nothing like it.

He sent it to me and I said, "Wait, isn't this the 'X' remix you were working on?" And he said, "Yeah, and now it's the 'Y' remix." "But it still sounds like 'X'". "But 'Y' paid me, so now it's the 'Y' remix".
posted by empath at 7:07 PM on September 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I don't see the point of this project / film. Nothing new or revelatory here at all.

It's just like a remix. Other people's old ideas bashed together in a different way.
posted by tapeguy at 9:12 PM on September 14, 2010


they are a penultimate example

If Zeppelin is penultimate, who comes after them?


Pfff, he's just remixing the meaning of "penultimate" into something new.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:40 PM on September 14, 2010


Sorry, Daft Punk's Around the World does not actually sample Chic's Good Times. The bassline is similar, but markedly different if you listen to it. And interestingly, it's the one great song in that bunch.

I hate the oversimplification of the kinds of arguments in this video. Of course we're all indebted to our artistic forebears, but there will always be a difference between a lazy remix and an original one.
posted by speicus at 12:44 AM on September 15, 2010


dunno
posted by akaru at 12:50 AM on September 15, 2010


"Zeppelin didn't modify their versions enough to claim they were original...Zeppelin copied without making fundamental changes."

Ok, look. Jimmy Page is not a songwriter. That's just not his musical strength, and it's not what he's known for. In Zeppelin's early albums Page used these blues and folk songs as templates, allowing him to focus on his true gifts--playing the guitar and getting creative in the recording studio.

Case in point: "When the Levee Breaks" was a blues song by Memphis Minnie that Zeppelin used as the basis for their own version. To say that they covered the song but just didn't give songwriting credits to the original artist is to assume that the only elements important to a piece of music are melody, harmony, and lyrics.

The very reason Zeppelin's version of "When the Levee Breaks" is so widely sampled has everything to do with none of those things. First of all, the drum loop that's made it's way into "Rhymin' and Stealin'" and everywhere else, has little more than a four-four rhythm in common with Memphis Minnie's original, but that's beside the point. Actually, everything about that track, from beginning to end, is a testament to Jimmy Page's innovation in the studio, from John Bonham's thundering drum break to the backwards harmonica to the swirling storm of sound at the end.

The same is true of so many other early Led Zeppelin songs; they used already existing material as musical fodder for creative exploration.

There are so many things that could be said about the remix in that context, but the intent of this installment wasn't very clear. Perhaps if there were a clearer idea of what was coming up in the rest of the series...
posted by eric1halfb at 7:58 AM on September 15, 2010


Somewhat tangential, but my favourite up-and-coming "remixer" is a fellow Aussie called Pogo.

A lot of what he creates is based almost totally on samples, particularly from well-known movies. I gather he got into some trouble with Disney Legal for some of his stuff but saner heads prevailed in the end.

See his YouTube channel or his Last.fm profile to download some of his tracks if you are so inclined.

I am hooked on Upular and Alice but there is plenty of other good stuff.
posted by gbc at 3:48 AM on September 16, 2010


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